Friday, December 31, 2010

From Times Square...

to your house,

Wishes for a bright and blessed New Year!

Times Square is in the distance. Yesterday I took this on my way to where I change subways in the morning. When you see the scene tonight on television there will be little or no snow. 

We've got our blog party going. The music -- disco right now -- is playing and the pigs in blankets (little hot dogs in dough) are warming up. There's a big punch bowl waiting and all we need now is the guests. Welcome! Since we all can't be together in person we'll meet in Buttercupland. From New York to England and Wales to India and back to North America, with stops all over Canada and the United States, we've got the best company I can think of. I am counting all of my blessings for the wonderful people I've met this year in Blogland. Have a wonderful evening, dear friends, and wishes for good health, much happiness and joy and fun in the year to come. May dreams come true for all of us!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Can't Help Myself...

I just love Motown, and that's my first choice for party music, and there's no party without music!

We've got great guests and we've got terrific food -- from fried okra to one of my all-time party favorites, pigs-in-blankets. When I was little my grandmother would make them for parties and they were always the first to go.  Now we need some music. Love to hear all of your suggestions. I'm starting with one of my favorites and looking for yours. Let's have a mix! Motown, disco, country. Can't wait to hear what my guests would like to listen to and dance to! It's a dancing party -- no arthritic knees or sore feet in Buttercupland. Even though I haven't been able to wear heels in twenty years, I can wear them here and dance the night away! 

And in real life New York the snow is going down, it's warmer and I've survived four long, long days at work. Three leisurely days ahead -- hurray! I've got some errands and decluttering, but also dinner with friends tomorrow, brunch on Sunday and theater tickets and lots of New Year's blog visits. Can't ask for more.  

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Post Scheduled for This Evening has Been Preempted... a Message of Hope

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing and sweet
to remember.

We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

Oliver Herford  

I was sitting on the platform at the Times Square subway station, one of the most urban environments I can think of. I'd watched one very overcrowded train go by and adopted a very philosophical attitude about getting to work. I'd be happy with any time this morning. And then from nowhere, this sweet bird appeared. He didn't sing, but he happily hopped all over the platform, oblivious to the crowds, the noise, the discarded papers. He could have been no happier in a spring meadow, than he was on a cold December morning at Times Square. I could do no less, and my mind drifted to one of my favorite poems, and the promise of the glory of spring, which is in our hearts. 

Party plans continue tomorrow, but tonight the only thought I have is the promise of spring. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Party Week and You're Invited!

After trudging through this getting to the subway to work...

And this getting out of the subway near the office...

I've never seen so much snow inside a subway station

I've decided it's time to forget the snow, the cold and the wind. It's time to party! This is the week leading to New Year's and we can party all week. I've redecorated Buttercupland in an 80s retro disco look and I'm thinking of wearing a silver cocktail dress. I don't own one, so grey sweat pants may have to do, but in Blogland we can be festive, whether we're in silver dresses or sweatpants.   

This is party week in Buttercupland. I've got the decorations, but I'm not sure about what to serve. I'm looking for suggestions of favorite party foods, and remember, there are no calories in Buttercupland. Join the party, friends, you're all invited!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter Wonderland...

...or not!
The view of Broadway from the bus stop earlier this afternoon

For me, it's not. It's a big not! I've never recovered from the winter of 1970-71 when I lived in New Hampshire. There was five feet of snow between Christmas and New Year and it just kept coming. It was also 30 degrees below zero often in January and that didn't include the wind chill. I will however, make every effort to make this my last post of the winter to focus on the weather. 

Despite the snow and wind it's been a lovely day-after-Christmas. Lunch with friends at a Thai/French fusion restaurant -- we stuck to the Thai choices -- and then the big treat of the season. We had tickets to see Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in "Driving Miss Daisy." The play was wonderful and I especially enjoyed seeing James Earl Jones. I've never seen him in the theater before and it was a great experience. 

Now I'm settling in a for a cozy evening at home. Plans are simple. I am going to make a batch of macaroni and cheese, one of the ultimate comfort foods and then do a lot of blog visiting. Is anything better for a snowy Sunday night than hopping around the globe to visit blog friends? Can't think of much.

Wishes to all for a warm and cozy Sunday night!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

From My House...

to yours! Wishes for a bright and blessed Christmas Day!

Actually it's greetings from my lobby. I've had the pleasure of coming home to our beautiful lobby Christmas tree for the last few weeks. There are mixed blessings of living in the city. I do miss having a backyard, a barbecue and planting my own flowers in the spring. But I do love my building and it gives me the chance to have a big, big, big Christmas tree.  Hope you are all having a wonderful day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dressed in Holiday Cheer...

In the air there's a feeling of Christmas!

Pepe has been all dressed up for Christmas for the last month and he's in an unusually festive mood, sitting here next to the office Christmas tree. We're both concerned about post-holiday slump, but for today we're enjoying all the season has to offer. His dashing holiday attire is courtesy of Build-a-Bear Workshop.  I hope you're all feeling as festive as Pepe and I and having a delightful Christmas Eve. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Christmas Time in the City, 2010 (2)

Broad Street, in front of the Stock Exchange

I seem to be doing a lot of running around the city these days and this afternoon I was downtown for a meeting. Had dinner with friends and spent a little while browsing at Border's...a very pleasant evening. On my way to the subway I was walking on Wall Street and from the intersection of Broad and Wall, the original boundary for New Amsterdam, I saw this beautiful tree decorated for Christmas. It took me totally by wonderful surprise. 

Hope your days are bringing you unexpected joys and pleasures!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Christmas Time in the City, 2010

 The lights on Madison Avenue

The balcony at the Waldorf Astoria

The Palace Hotel decorations...What a beautiful tree!

Decorations in the courtyard of the Palace Hotel. The spires in the background are St. Patrick's Cathedral.

I was doing a few errands in Midtown and had the opportunity to visit a few places somewhat off my regular path. The Waldorf is one of them -- nothing like cutting through a beautiful hotel to get out of the cold for a few minutes -- and got to take photos of the decorations. Knew my blog friends would enjoy a tour of the lights of Midtown. The Waldorf has a lovely tea and it's now on my "list" for 2011. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to spend a snowy Sunday afternoon? My friend Mary and I choose a celebration each year, instead of gifts and that's what I will be proposing for our treat.

I've enjoyed taking photos of the holiday decorations to share with all of you. I really stop and look at how beautiful the city is and not just fly by on my way to a new errand. Thanks for the impetus to "stop and smell the roses." Much appreciated!

Now it's time to write a few more cards -- I think I'm the slowest card writer -- and have a cup of candy cane green tea. For those who've asked, the tea is good -- not as good as a cup of hot cocoa with lots of mini-marshmallows -- but good and very healthy. Hope you're having a sweet Sunday night.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Miracle on 34th Street

I survived a visit to Macy's the week before Christmas!

And more amazingly there was nothing I needed to buy and I made no desperate nonsensical purchase that I regretted the minute I left the store. Truly a miracle! I was at the main Post Office two blocks away using one of my favorite things, the automatic machine, to mail packages...

 Note the fifty people in line to the left of the machine...Not me this year!

I realized it was still early in the evening and not too cold and decided to go over to Macy's and see the decorations. Generally there is sleet pouring down for my almost last minute trip to Macy's and I am wearing heavy boots, a down coat and my nose is dripping miserably. I have about ten gifts to buy and no idea what I'm looking for. I end up buying things are more expensive than I'd planned and I go home tired, sad and disappointed in myself. Every year I say that I won't do it again, but until this year, there I was dragging through Macy's. This year...

 My first view walking towards Macy's was this wonderful scene of the 
Empire State Building all lit in red and green. 

The interior was pretty and festive -- though not as spectacular as years past... 

But the exterior of the store made my visit well worthwhile.

Wishing you miracles, large and small, in this season of miracles and all through the year! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buttercup Goes to Work

You've seen Buttercup at play many times. But rarely does the work Buttercup emerge, which is ironic because I spend a great deal of time and energy at work. All play and no work doesn't reflect me very well. Most of the time any photos taken of me at work would be me answering email, talking on the phone or sitting in a meeting and taking copious notes (I am a major note taker and doodler, too). Not so interesting.

But today I went to a press conference where Mayor Bloomberg spoke concerning a project that has been consuming lots of work time in the last few months. Press conferences with the Mayor are not a regular part of my job, but I thought it would be fun to share this one. There were lots of the "regular" press there and I felt quite at home snapping pictures, as half of the room had cameras and cell phones and were taking pictures throughout the event.  

The setting is a taxi garage in Brooklyn. It was a very neat and clean garage, but I had flashes where I thought Danny DeVito would emerge any minute. Any "Taxi" fans in Buttercupland?

Now it's back to the more routine at work. But it's ten days before Christmas and I am officially drifting into a festive state of mind. I expect my Shutterfly cards any minute and am in the midst of package wrapping and ordering a few last minute things online. Bought candy cane green tea and about to have a leisurely cup of it. Toasting you all with happy Thursday wishes! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Love Jimmy Stewart

I saw a clip from MSNBC this morning about the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, PA. I'd never known there was a museum for one of my favorite actors, and was nicely surprised. However, my surprise wasn't all positive, as the museum has come on hard financial times. The director of the museum said he thought it was because the people who were most familiar with Jimmy Stewart were aging.

I have been an enormous fan of Jimmy Stewart for as long as I can remember, and it's sobering to think of myself as soon-to-be extinct. I can't think of a Jimmy Stewart movie I don't like, and some are among my favorite movies. I think most people would choose "It's a Wonderful Life," especially in this season, but my own favorite is "Harvey." One of my most special memories is seeing a stage version when I was in college. I went to New York (I grew up in Connecticut) with my mother and we had a wonderful afternoon seeing Jimmy Stewart, Helen Hayes and Jesse White.  I also like the great Jimmy Stewart films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, especially "Rear Window."

Here's a cheer for the man who gave us Elwood P. Dowd in "Harvey" and George Bailey in a movie most of us will be seeing in the next two weeks...

Bless you, Jimmy Stewart and thank you!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sweatpants Day

I'm feeling a little groovy...and that feels really good. Thank you all for your get well wishes. They were very effective -- with a little help from the pharmacy. No more sneezing or coughing and I am feeling more energetic. I did go out this afternoon to my study group and a quick run to the grocery. Otherwise, I've been indoors and in sweat pants and it's a great treat. So much so, that I'm thinking of declaring one weekend day a week this winter "Sweatpants Day" an actual Buttercup holiday and celebrating it. Sounds cozy, doesn't it?

My idea of this celebration is my gray sweatpants, fuzzy slippers, a turtleneck, the New York Times and a cup of cocoa. I'm going to save some candy canes and use them to stir the cocoa. Now it seems the norm, but in February when I can hear the wind howling outside, it will be a terrific treat. Anyone want to join me?

Christmas Lights at Gracie Mansion

I've been taking pictures throughout the city of the decorations and took this one last week at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor's residence. The path to the right leads up to the building. 

I have ordered New Year's cards, as displayed on the right of the blog. It was easy and fun and again thanks to my friends at Shutterfly. If you would like to receive one please email me at with your address. I'd be delighted to share them with my blog friends.

Wishes for a warm and cozy Sunday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not Feeling Groovy...

My scratchy throat of the weekend turned into full-blown bronchitis. I am definitely not feeling groovy, but I am feeling much better than I did a day ago, when I coughed almost constantly. Thank you, Sir Alexander Fleming for the discovery of penicillin.  I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend and resting, blog visiting, a movie and the New York Times crossword. Sounds so peaceful and cozy...

I have been taking photos of Christmas scenes throughout Manhattan and liked this East side townhouse decorated for the season. 

Hope you're having a cozy Thursday and wishes for a great weekend!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks...

...the Christmas trees are here 

Every year -- right after Thanksgiving -- the Christmas trees arrive. They mostly come from Canada -- thank you, our Canadian friends! -- but they may come from upstate New York or Maine or Vermont. They are bright note on the landscape, but I especially like the scent. 

There are so many Christmas scents that I like. Gingerbread and peppermint and pine stand out, but pine is my favorite and I love that for a month the fresh pine scent fills the New York City streets. What a treat!

What are your favorite scents of the season? 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thank You, Shutterfly Friends!

One of the things I never seem to get to do is order personalized cards for Hanukkah or New Year's. I always think about it, but the days run by and before I know it, it's too late. But this year, my good friends at Shutterfly have inspired me to take a favorite photo and turn it in to a card to share with friends. I've used the photo of the lighthouse in Portland (ME) several times and it makes me think of the wishes for light in dark times that is especially meaningful in these winter holiday times. I've thought about turning the picture into a card or calendar or maybe a mug, but until Shutterfly made the great offer of blogging about their lovely and fun holiday cards I was still thinking about my picture.

Shutterfly is offering 50 holiday cards for a blog post. What fun! My only difficulty is picking which card I like. There are so many great ones to choose from. I like the card designed by Heifer International, a favorite cause...
And I like this one because I get to write my own message...

I know I'm going to spend lots of time looking at Shutterfly's website, and having a great time doing it. If you would like your own holiday cards this year, stop by Shutterfly and join the fun! If you'd like one of the lighthouse cards that I will be making just leave me a note. I'm so happy to share light in the darkness with my dear Blog friends!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wishing You Joy and Light

Approximately 2300 years ago the land of Judea had been conquered by the Syrian Greeks. The Temple had been given over to worship of the gods of the conquerers. Judah Maccabee and his brothers led a group that reconquered Judea. After three years they succeeded and one of their first acts was to clean the Temple and rededicate it to worship. They went to light the eternal light -- a light that is in every Jewish house of worship -- and found a small amount of oil. It looked to be only enough oil for one day, but miraculously the oil burned for eight days and 2300 years later we remember this miracle and light candles for eight nights.

Tonight is the first of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Once again I rejoice and reflect in a miracle that took place thousands of years ago. I am reminded that miracles can still take place and that there is always hope for miracles in our lives. My prayer and fervent wish this Hanukkah night is for light in the darkest night and for the miracles for which we are praying -- for energy, for hope, for faith and for healing. I am adding a prayer of Thanksgiving for the wonderful friends who come to visit here at Buttercup's. Blessings and miracles to you and your families!